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Published: Friday, 12/14/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Survey finds average Northern Ohio consumer will spend $948 during holidays

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Huntington Bank survey found 67 percent of northern Ohio consumers say they plan to spend as much or more on holiday purchases this year as they did in 2011, with the average consumer figuring to spend $948.

The findings, released earlier this week, were part of Huntington’s first-ever Midwest Economic Index survey conducted in November. The Columbus-based bank asked consumers in Ohio, Michigan, Western Pennsylvania, Indianapolis, and West Virginia a variety of questions aimed at gauging their upcoming spending plans and their general optimism about the economy.

The average holiday spending plan for all consumers surveyed was $959. Huntington said 14 percent planned to spend more, 28 percent planned to spend less, and 56 percent planned to spend the same as last year.

Ohio consumers planned to spend the most on the holidays, averaging $1,022. Respondents in the Indianapolis region had the lowest plan, averaging $836.

Data released in October from the National Retail Federation found the average holiday shopper in the United States will spend $749.51, up about 1 percent from last year. The retail federation said it expected total holiday sales to rise 4 percent to $586.1 billion.

Huntington officials say having data specific to the area in which their customers live and work is beneficial to the bank and its business customers.

“Huntington Bank launched the Midwest Economic Index to give our business and consumer customers the local economic information they need to plan for 2013,” Huntington chief executive Steve Steinour said in a statement. “The survey confirms our analysis that the economy is slowly recovering and that consumers are ready to spend more discretionary dollars.”

The survey found 45 percent of all respondents believe the regional economy will improve in 2013. Northern Ohio consumers were a tad more optimistic, with half reporting they are expecting a better economy next year.

Still, most aren’t cutting back on their discretionary spending.

Shannon Loar-Tenney, a regional marketing and communications manager with Huntington based in Toledo, said the results match up with what the bank has been seeing in the market. In northern Ohio, 73 percent of consumers reported plans to take a vacation away from home in 2013, with the average consumer budgeting $3,552 for their vacation plans. Forty-nine percent said they planned to make home improvements, spending an average of $3,715.

“If we’re looking at it for northern Ohio, what we found there is consumers are going to spend next year and spend at a higher level with some discretionary dollars,” Ms. Loar-Tenney said.

One area not seeing much activity, however, was real estate.

Huntington said 88 percent of homeowners included in its survey said they had no plans to sell their current home next year, and 90 percent of all consumers said they had no plans to buy a home in 2013.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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